White lions are not albino as they have pigmentation which shows particularly in eye, paw pad and lip colour. The correct term for their condition is leucism, a state where there is near-normal eye colour, but loss of pigment in the skin and fur.
The cause of the unusual colouration is the same as for the white tiger. A recessive gene which results in the white appearance is found in a very small number of captive lions.
White specimens usually have a yellowish-brown or golden eye colour which is very similar to their tawny cousins, though some have bluish colouring like the white tiger.
Unlike normal lion cubs which spotted at birth, the pelage of white cubs is almost pure white. Over the months the coat gradually darkens to become a cream or ivory colour. At last count, 32 white lions were recorded worldwide.